Cumbria’s unique Dream Placement programme will this year offer 16-18 year olds from across the county the chance to learn about career opportunities and business and gain life-changing opportunities through virtual and real-life interaction with top employers.
The programme organised by the Centre for Leadership Performance has been adapted to take account of the Covid-19 safety restrictions with live streaming replacing some face-to-face presentations, and more on-line contact and interaction.
It will also reflect new remote-working practices introduced by companies and organisations through the application and development activity, and during the week spent with businesses over the February 2021 half-term break.
Applications open this week (from September 1st) for young people in Cumbria who have the chance to gain a range of experience and new skills before finally spending the February half-term week with a host company. The closing date for applications is October 26th.
The pandemic means there are changes to Dream Placement and the programme will be flexible to take account of the latest Government advice as the situation continues to develop. But Dream Placement will continue to provide opportunities and skills for young people, many of whom have been hard hit by the virus impact.
Centre for Leadership Performance Executive Director Sarah Glass explains: “We recently surveyed young people who told us about the ways the virus had affected them and their career prospects going forward. Many of them are increasingly anxious about the future or rethinking their future careers amid the uncertainty.
“But Dream Placement is a chance to work with our partners to restore some confidence and demonstrate that employers are still committed to the county’s young people. They are the leaders of tomorrow and our most vital resource to ensure a bright future Cumbria.”
Dream Placement was originally created after conversations with businesses about ways to connect with young people, giving them extra insight into the varied career opportunities offered within Cumbria. It is designed to create a future workforce for the county, and equip them with the skills, experience and contacts to carry them through further education, university, their first job and beyond.
It also aims to give every 16-18-year-old applicant the knowledge to succeed and the confidence which will build their future character. They will also benefit from meeting other young people and business leaders with whom they can share experiences and aspirations through Cumbria Future Leaders which now involves almost 1000 young people.
The unique Cumbrian development programme is funded by businesses that share a commitment to invest in the county’s young people.
Initial presentations to schools will be carried out through live-streaming video conferencing with live Q&A sessions, and there will be increased emphasis on providing on-line resources to assist young people with their applications. Every applicant will get one-to-one guidance as part of the process and CfLP will work with community groups and young people during the application period to provide additional support if required.
Hundreds of students apply each year but the number invited to the Selection Day will this year be reduced to enable safe social distancing, and the day itself will be tailored to deliver maximum impact in a shorter timescale. Up to 30 companies will be able to offer Dream Placements, ranging from major players in Cumbria’s nuclear sector to small and medium-size specialist companies, local authorities, and health trusts.
There will be a series of on-line development opportunities for those young people who gain a placement before they join their host companies. Additional on-line resources, including video, workshops, and forums will provide further information and guidance for applicants
The format for the placement week during the February 2021 half-term is still being developed with hosts and will vary from company to company, depending on their current safe working procedures at that time. Elements of the interaction between the placement candidates and their hosts will take place ‘virtually’ on-line because many of the host employees are expected to still be working remotely at that time. However, there will also be ‘real’ engagement opportunities including carefully controlled site visits and collaboration with employees and other placement candidates.
Networking and connecting people is an important element of the CfLP’s work and is an integral part of Dream Placement, through maintaining contact with business leaders. Cumbria Future Leaders set up by CfLP is an active youth network that aims to connect and broker links with employers and other youth groups for dialogue and discussions.
CfLP Executive Director Sarah Glass adds: “Covid-19 presents new challenges but young people and our partners have told us they want the programme to continue and we are working hard to ensure that it can. We will ensure that by combining real hands on experience and virtual opportunities we deliver a safe and meaningful Dream Placement 2021.
“Dream Placement offers students unique life-changing opportunities to choose their career paths and the companies taking part benefit from connecting with young people. CfLP is all about collaboration and Dream Placement demonstrates that when businesses work together great things happen.”
Organisations supporting the scheme now in its eighth year include Cumbria LEP, Inspira, Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster (BECBC), Energus, Choose Cumbria, Invest in South Lakeland, Innovative Enterprise, Institute of Directors, and National Skills Academy Nuclear (NSAN).
To learn more about Dream Placement 2021 visit www.dreamplacement.org.uk